Pressure cookin’

Pressure cookin’
How excitement! We had some Amazon gift certificates from Christmas and decided to spend them on a kitchen gadget we’ve been lusting over: a pressure cooker. Last week we ordered the Fagor 9 Piece Pressure Canning Set from Amazon, and today it’s here! It’s got a 10L pressure cooker and all the bits you need to can (aside from jars). I can’t wait to get it home and try it out.

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I’m interested in the canning part of it, but we’ll need to get some jars first. Anybody know where I can get proper Mason jars? Does Bunnings carry them? (The fancy “House” store at Broadway has them but they’re like $7 each.)

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  1. I’ve always wondered why it’s called “canning” by Americans when you use jars. (I’m not expecting you to answer that, just an idle comment!). Is it the same thing as preserving (which is what I’ve always called it)?

    You might find jars at second hand/junk type stores (also Salvos/St Vinnies). Especially in the country (not sure if that’s much help to you). My mum has some, but I don’t think she’s done any preserving for years. I’ll ask her if she still has/wants them.

  2. Well, there you go – I looked up canning on wikipedia, and the system used in Australia is generally Fowler’s Vacola (which is what my mum has and what we used at school too!), the jars have metal clips. Don’t know if you can use those with your system, but wiki says you can still sometimes buy them at hardware stores! Don’t know about Bunnings, but you might find them at smaller suburban hardware stores (if they still exist!). Now that I’m thinking of it, maybe you could try K-Mart or Target too, or a place like Essential Ingredient (probably expensive!)??

  3. I found those airtight jars with the little clip thingys (are they mason jars?) at Marrickville Kmart when I was pickling onions and making chutney last year

  4. No, no, no. Don’t bother with all those fancy homewares shops. http://www.redbacktrading.com.au/ has all you need. Shipping is reasonable, range is excellent. Have fun!

  5. The “system” we have is really just the pressure cooker and the bits for filling and removing jars. The jars and lids you use are up to you. I’ve read that op shop jars maybe aren’t the best to use, because you really need an airtight seal at the lid or you can get bacteria and nastiness in there. So any tiny nicks in the rim won’t work.

    We could definitely use the Vacola ones. From my research, the metal clips are only used to hold the lids on until pressurized and then the vacuum holds them on (and you can remove the clips). With mason jars, the screw-on ring serves the same purpose. It’s not actually holding the lid on; it’s just holding it in place until the vacuum magic happens.

    I’ve seen Redback and that’s probably what we’ll go with. I was just wondering if anybody knew of anywhere that was quicker or cheaper. We’d checked Kmart and Target at Broadway, but they only really had overpriced individual jars. (That might be because of the location in the city; suburban ones may well have a better selection.) I know in the US these are generally found at hardware stores, so that was my first guess.

    The other option is to order a selection of lids from Green Living. They make lids that work with recycled jars from the supermarket. Most of the products we buy in jars are small though, so I’d really like to have a set of the proper big jars as well.

  6. And you’re right, Jane – I have no idea why they call it canning! That’s just what I’ve always known it as. My grandma and great aunts always talked about “canning” rather than “preserving.” It may be a regional or generational thing. Preserving sounds fancier. 🙂

  7. Heh, preserving does sound fancier!! (not that we are fancy in any way!!). I’ve seen lots of references to canning on US blogs/websites, so I reckon it’s pretty widespread over there. One of those funny/weird language things. And yeah I didn’t think about nicks etc for second hand jars, probably not worth hunting them out!

  8. Definitely no on 2nd hand jars and if you use your own recycled jars just make absolutely sure there is no trace of any nasties on the lid, no rust etc. or your preserves/ pickles will bubble and fizz in a most disconcerting way. Our cucumber plant went into overdrive this year and the hubby has been pickling like crazy. We ended up buying a couple of HUGE mason jars from the aforementioned “House” in B’way but only because of the urgent need to do something with the vast quantities of cucumber we had/have. There is only so much Greek salad and tzatziki one can eat.

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